The 2021-2022 season marked 10 years since the Orlando Solar Bears were revived after the folding of the old International Hockey League in 2001 but as members of the ECHL. The team’s tagline? VICTOR10US.
Unfortunately, they were not victorious enough to earn an invite to the 2022 Kelly Cup playoffs, missing out during the final week of the regular season.
Despite an early end, there were many accomplishments by the team during the regular season. Let’s take a dive into the final 2021-22 numbers:
Record: 71 GP, 33-31-6-1, 73 points, .514 points percentage. 5th place in South Division, 8th in Eastern Conference, 17th in ECHL.
Home: 19-12-4-1. Road: 14-19-2-0.
Top 5 Points: Tristin Langan (47), Michael Brodzinski (42), Brian Bowen (41; combined UT/ORL), Aaron Luchuk (41), Ross Olsson (35; combined WOR/ORL)
Goals: Brian Bowen/Ross Olsson (21)
Assists: Michael Brodzinski (35)
Plus/Minus: Tyler Bird (+9)
Penalty Minutes: Ross Olsson (118)
Power Play Goals: Ross Olsson (10)
Power Play Assists: Tristin Langan (12)
Shorthanded Goals: Hunter Fejes (3)
Shorthanded Assists: Tristin Langan/Joe Garreffa (2)
Game Winning Goals: Tyler Bird/Maxim Cajkovic (4)
Wins: Brad Barone (23)
Goals Against Average: Amir Miftakhov (2.33)
Save Percentage: Amir Miftakhov (.920)
Shutouts: Brad Barone (3)
Minutes: Brad Barone (2,695)
Saves: Brad Barone (1,357)
Attendance: 5,120 per game, 7th.
Penalty Minutes: 779, average 10.97 per game, 22nd.
Power Play: 18.1 percent, 18th.
Penalty Kill: 82.7 percent, 9th.
Shorthanded Goals for: 9, tied for 9th.
Shorthanded Goals allowed: 10, tied for 6th.
Goals For: 2.77 per game, 26th.
Goals Against: 3.18 per game, 12th.
Shots For: 30.90 per game, 17th.
Shots Against: 32.08 per game, 17th.
-Tristin Langan became the all-time franchise leader in career scoring with 147 points (56 goals, 91 assists) in 166 games with Orlando. He also picked up his first AHL goal while on a PTO with Syracuse on November 6th against Laval, and later appeared in 5 games for Manitoba.
-The Solar Bears' goaltending looked to be in flux at the beginning of the season after last year’s starter Clint Windsor took off for overseas, and two rookies—one from Syracuse, one from San Jose—looked to get most of the workload. Then one of those rookies, Amir Miftakhov, was summoned north to Syracuse after an injury to Crunch starter Max Lagace on Opening Night. Enter Brad Barone, an ECHL journeyman who was signed to a standard contract on October 21st to fill in for Miftakhov. That may have been the biggest transaction of the season, as the man they call Bones became the team workhorse.
He set team records for appearances (48), minutes played (2,695), saves (1,357), and tied the record for most wins with 23. He finished 7th among ECHL goaltenders in GAA (2.65), tied for second in wins, third in losses (19), third in minutes played, second in saves, and tied for first in save percentage (.919).
15: Games that went to overtime. Orlando won 6 in OT, 2 in the shootout.
1: Penalty shot faced. Zach Emond stopped Norfolk’s Noah Corson on November 25th in a 3-1 home win.
33: Games that Orlando scored first. Their record in that instance? 23-6-4-0.
7: Wins against teams outside the South Division.
8: Wins against Jacksonville, the most against any opponent.
76: Third period goals scored, the most of any period.
54: First period goals scored, the least of any period.
21: Wins when leading after 2 periods. Overall record 21-1-1-1.
4: Wins when trailing after the 1st and after the 2nd period.
6: Losses of 5 goals or greater.
31: 1-goal games played, with a record of 17-7-6-1.
2: Shorthanded assists by Joe Garreffa in a 6-2 win over Allen on December 17th, a league season high.
7: Road winless streak to end the regular season (0-6-1).
2: Shorthanded goals scored by Hunter Fejes in a 4-3 win over Florida on December 29th, a league season high.
23: Third period saves by Brad Barone in a 3-2 loss to Florida on November 17th, a season league high.
0: Second period shots for in a 3-1 loss to Jacksonville on November 12th, the only ECHL team this season to be shutout on shots in a period.
56: Players to appear in at least one game this season.
11: Goaltenders to appear in at least one game this season.
26: Solar Bears that played in or earned callups to the AHL.
1: Solar Bear that played in the NHL in 2021-22 (Hugo Alnefelt)
0: Games played by Sean Avery after signing with the team in February.
News and Notes:
-Orlando will have a new bench boss for the 2022-23 season, as the team announced on Monday it had parted ways with head coach/general manager Drake Berehowsky. A former NHLer, Berehowsky had originally taken the coaching reins in the inaugural 2012-13 season, leading the Solar Bears to a 28-37-3-4 mark before being replaced by Vince Williams for the 2013-14 campaign. He was rehired by the team early in the 2016-17 season and led Orlando to the postseason, only to bow out in round 1.
Berehowsky coached the Solar Bears to three consecutive playoff berths, but could not advance past the second round. He leaves Orlando with an all-time record of 229-202-51. A search for his replacement has begun.
-Several Solar Bears have earned callups to the AHL:
Tyler Bird, Cole Moberg, and Luke McInnis joined San Jose, who finished their regular season on Saturday.
Miftakhov, Odeen Tufto, Tye Felhaber, Shawn Element, Cajkovic, and Dmitry Semykin were recalled to Syracuse as the Crunch prepare for their Calder Cup playoff run.